Posted: May 24, 2011 in Quotes

I do not underestimate the perils threatening industrial society, though I think that some of the people who warn us about environmental crisis have got their perspectives wrong. Indeed, I think they are wrong to call it a crisis at all. A crisis is a situation that will pass; it can be resolved by temporary hardship, temporary adjustment, technological and political expedients. What we are experiencing is not a crisis, it is a climacteric. For the rest of man’s history on earth, so far as one can foretell, he will have to live with problems of population, of resources, of pollution. And the seminal problem remains unsolved: Can man adapt himself to anticipate environmental constraints? Or will he (like other animal societies) adapt himself only in response to the constraints after they have begun to hurt?

– Eric Ashby, Speech at Stanford University in 1978


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